No. of Recommendations: 2
1. My portfolio has been 120 - age in stocks & stock like things. So, each year that I've been doing this, it gets more heavy in bonds and bond-like things.

2. If I knew "then" what I know now, I wouldn't have added a 5% position in commodities (stock like thing) or ~4% position in The Merger Fund. The commodities may end up juicing returns, but a decade in it just seems like an unneeded complication. The Merger Fund is there because I figured interest rates had nowhere to go but up five years ago, and as we all know, bonds lose out during interest rate increases. The Merger Fund should be interest-rate-neutral. As it turns out, my bond funds have been returning 3% to 5% a year, beating MERFX. Congratulations, I ended up playin' myself.

3. I have stock funds, and no individual stocks.

4. I've gone to a barbell stock mix: Large cap index + small cap value on the "staid" end, and a smidge of Health Care, Biotech and Internet on the other end. My international stock funds are overweighted in Europe/Pacific Indexes. I upped my Emerging Market allocation a year ago to 5%. It's performed well, so I consider that a choice that was half smart and half luck. You can be correct, but at the wrong time, and lose money.

5. I tracked my performance back to 1986, and am running at like 9.6%. Reasons are:
-I was >90% stock (S&P500 index mainly) for decades, and this time around I realize I can't necessarily take a "hit" and hold on.
-I started actually putting money in stocks right after the 1990 crash. Before that, my IRA investments were CDs earning (IIRC) 14%!!!
-I didn't panic and sell at bottoms. "Retirement" was so far away, it just seemed like the US economy would always bounce back.
-Dollar cost averaging probably helped. Mathematically, you invest the same money at highs and lows, but buy more shares at the lows.
-I was interested in costs long before it became popular to do so.
-My 401k matching money and half of the contribution that was matched was required to be held in company stock. You couldn't get out for a certain period. (IIRC, it was a year after it vested, and it vested on Jan 1, meaning on Jan 1 2005 you could sell your company stock from 2003.) When the company went bankrupt, I lost a significant chunk. Some people sold 100% of what they were allowed to on the first trading day of the year, but I didn't. I got a decent amount out before the bankruptcy, but that required selling at a loss. That sucked, but was counteracted by the next point.
-Putting in 10% doesn't seem like much, but if you do it for a few decades, don't screw up the asset allocation BIG TIME, it really compounds.
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